AWARD WRITING HINTS & TIPS
Thinking of entering the IMTJ Medical Travel Awards? Want to know how to win?
To win an award, you have to convince the judges, who may know very little about what you do, that you are deserving of the accolade. We are regularly asked “why didn’t we/they win?”. We know many healthcare providers that are fantastic at what they do, and are deserving of awards, but they don’t win. Why?
A common comment from our judges is “the claims made by the entrant weren’t sufficiently supported by evidence”. Another is “I know this clinic is excellent but this didn’t come across in their submission document”. And a frequent complaint: “The submission does not refer to a new project, activity or initiative that took place in [current year]. There is no new specific international strategy or marketing”
If you have never submitted an entry to an Awards program, or even if you have, you may find some of the following hints and tips are useful when planning your entry, and putting yourself into the strongest possible position to win.
Give yourself plenty of time
Do you know when the entry deadline is? For our 4th annual IMTJ Awards, the deadline is 15th January, 2017. The timing of the program is planned well in advance and takes many factors into consideration. For this reason, there won’t be an extension to the deadline, so please don’t ask for one!
Allow time to research, edit and proofread your submission. Don’t underestimate how much time you will need. Enroll the support of your colleagues to help with various elements of your submission. If you need additional support, engage an external expert to help write your submission.
Read the entry requirements!
It sounds obvious really, but by not carefully checking and adhering to the entry requirements, you could fail before you have even started! Check the maximum word count allowed (1,500), and don’t exceed it. You must include certain information at the beginning of your document: Category, title of activity, entering company, URL. Your entry must relate to projects, products, initiatives or activities carried out between 1st January 2016 and 15th January 2017.
Ensure you include information in your submission document for each of the required sub headings (aims, strategy, innovation, implementation, feedback, outcome), and save your submission in the correct document format (PDF). If you are not sure that you have completely understood the entry requirements, ask us!
Ensure you qualify by checking the entry criteria
It’s surprising how many entries are submitted where the entry criteria has not been followed (and in some cases, has clearly not been read!). This will automatically lose points for your entry, and in some cases, your entry could be dismissed entirely! Criteria will vary between categories, so if you are entering more than one award, check each category carefully before preparing and submitting your entry.
You can download IMTJ Awards – How to enter, which includes criteria for each category.
Stand out from the crowd
Your Awards entry is effectively a sales pitch. You are selling yourself to the judging panel. Make it easy for them to remember your entry, in what might be a very crowded field. Be compelling. Be engaging, Convince them you are the best in your class. Assume the judges know nothing about your organisation, and tell them a convincing story.
Bring your campaign to life
Include relevant illustrations, graphs, diagrams and other graphics within your submission document. Visuals often tell a story more convincingly than words. If you have a great creative that you have used in your campaign, include it as part of your entry. Use of visuals helps to break up the text and make your entry easier for the judges to digest.
Include clear links
If you expect the judges to review external content that is specific to your entry such as a web site, YouTube videos, or social media campaigns, ensure you provide clear links and reference to them within your submission document. Don’t expect the judge to do the work for you and hunt them down!
Support your claims
Don’t litter your submission with meaningless phrases, jargon and clichés. “Our approach is unique”, doesn’t tell the judges what your approach is and what makes it unique. If you include words like ‘innovative’ or ‘exceptional, make sure you back this up with solid evidence. Our judging panel look for originality as well as evidence to support your claims.
Include any formal evaluation of results, ROI, accreditation, etc, or in the case of a mobile app, the take up by potential clients/patients. Remember, it is always helpful to include independent evaluation of your activity, if available, whether unsolicited patient testimonials or professionally audited financial results.
Be clear and concise, keep to the point with a clear narrative. Don’t include irrelevant waffle that takes up valuable words from your word count – for the IMTJ Awards, the maximum word count is 1,500. The Judges will automatically vote lower any entries exceeding the word count. At the same time, the judges appreciate the brevity of an entry and there is no need to use the full word count Remember that the judges have many entries to review and will appreciate you making the process as engaging as possible.
Poor spelling and grammar costs points
Whilst an occasional grammar mistake is forgivable, multiple misspellings will not please the judges, and they may just move onto the next entry. If English is not your first language, ask a colleague to review the copy in your entry and ensure that it reads well.
Proof read before uploading
Before submitting your entry, read through it again and review the entry requirements and criteria to ensure you have complied. It is a good idea to ask a couple of other people to proof read it as well, perhaps one from within your organisation who understands your business, and another who doesn’t and can look at it from a judge’s perspective. Does it tell your story well? Is it well written, easy to read? Have you included information under each of the required sub headings? Will it be compelling and stand out from the crowd? Will the judges enjoy reading it?
Could do better
Here are a few comments from judges from previous years’ award submissions where the entry did not fulfil the entry requirements or meet the category criteria:
- “The submission does not refer to a new project, activity or initiative that took place in 2015. There is no new specific international strategy or marketing”
- “The scoring might have been higher is the organization had submitted more information. The scores were based on reading the website and social media.”
- “The Clinic did not show case their quality standard and number of international patients is too low.”
- “The patient numbers listed are “expats” and not international Patients”
- “At this stage a rather regional MT initiative. High investment and fast development including marketing where effectiveness and customer satisfaction/acceptance needs to be proven in the future.”
- “I wish I could see the Youtube videos, why didn’t they provide links?”
- “Not enough materials or evidence to support this”
- “The hospital might be very good offering high quality services. However, the category “Best use of technology in MT” requires that: “The judges will be looking for objective evidence of success that can be attributed to the initiative. Supporting information should include evidence of the benefits provided to the medical travel sector.” The hospital described their sophisticated medical equipment. National and international patients will for sure benefit, however, the real initiative as it was asked for this category is missing. “
- “Services and customer satisfaction might be good. Presentation of application irritating (annoying). A short Word document with double content? Website has nice pictures but does not give to much information on the required information for this category. ”
- “Unfortunately, not much data provided to rate based on facts. Website gives some further information and high number of treatments can be understood as an indicator for high quality and patient satisfaction. Thus, rating is rather based on guessing than facts. A pity… could have been higher scoring…”
- “Excellent clinic. Regrettably, the application does not fit to the category “best quality initiative”. The general quality approach – which is excellent – was described. But regrettably no individual project with data to be assigned to the initiative.”
And the winner is….
Some positive comments from judges where entries scored highly:
- “Good impression. Well thought-out project based on current and future needs. Number of registrations and App users speaks for acceptance and user satisfaction. In-house solution assures continuous optimization based on lessons learned.”
- “Great execution! Good strategy”
- “Experienced facilitator. Continuous quality improvement based on lessons learned and high number of customers and respective experience. Complete international patient care cycle. Very good.”
- “Very good approach to further optimize patient satisfaction and service provision. Well done.”
- “Very good services from preparation to follow up. Continuous work on quality and service improvement. Congratulations.”
- “Difficult to say where they could do better. Excellent!”
- “Innovative approach, based on evidence. Important topic worldwide with impact on MT (elective surgeries).”
- “Good approach, relevant for regional MT. Responsible handling of organs and transplantation to the benefit of all assuming that all legal and ethical points are considered. Quality initiative can be understood as preventing waste of organs and access to transplantation which would be more difficult without this project.”
- “Extremely well done. Excellent data collection and presentation. Center with best in class patient / customer care – they’ve done an outstanding job targeting their prospects”
- “Excellent presented data about quality control. They are clearly market sensitive with multiple languages, orientation to multiple cultures, regions, etc. Clear, well displayed data and very good processes for collecting CSM”
- “Accreditation and award winning, maintain strong quality measures. Excellent policy and strategy to attract patient internationally and collaboration with Gov. Bodies. Strong communication and marketing plan, assigning patient ambassadors as well as testimonials”